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Obama accepts Reid apology for racial remark

WASHINGTON–President Obama on Saturday accepted an apology from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) who is quoted in a new book about the 2008 presidential campaign calling Obama in private a “light-skinned” black with no “Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

Reid’s quote is in a new book “Game Change” by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, released on Monday.

Here’s the passage that got Reid–already facing a tough November re-election fight–in trouble:

“He was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama — a ‘light-skinned’ African American ‘with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,’ as he said privately.

Reid’s apology, released on Saturday:

“I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African Americans for my improper comments. I was a proud and enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama during the campaign and have worked as hard as I can to advance President Obama’s legislative agenda. Moreover, throughout my career, from efforts to integrate the Las Vegas strip and the gaming industry to opposing radical judges and promoting diversity in the Senate, I have worked hard to advance issues important to the African American community.”

Obama’s statement, released Saturday afternoon:

“Harry Reid called me today and apologized for an unfortunate comment reported today. I accepted Harry’s apology without question because I’ve known him for years, I’ve seen the passionate leadership he’s shown on issues of social justice and I know what’s in his heart. As far as I am concerned, the book is closed.”